Home UK Abortion clinic one step closer to getting anti-protest buffer zone

Abortion clinic one step closer to getting anti-protest buffer zone

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Abortion clinic one step closer to getting anti-protest buffer zone
Placards in support of a Public Space Protection Order placed outside the Marie Stopes Abortion Clinic by a pro-choice group on October 27, 2017 (Picture: Getty Images)

The introduction of the country’s first ever protest-free buffer zone around an abortion clinic is a step closer.

A cabinet of Ealing council voted unanimously to open a public consultation on whether a public space protection order (PSPO) should be enforced around a Marie Stopes clinic in the west London borough.

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The safe zone would prohibit anti-abortion protesters from an area around the clinic, to prevent harassment of women accessing legal healthcare services.

In calling for a safe zone, councillor Binda Rai told the meeting that the demonstrations were forcing vulnerable women seeking treatment to face ’emotional hijacking at the point of access’, which is clearly not covered by legislation.

Abortion clinic one step closer to getting anti-protest buffer zone
Placards and banners in support of a Public Space Protection Order are placed outside the Marie Stopes Abortion Clinic (Picture: Getty Images)
Abortion clinic one step closer to getting anti-protest buffer zone
Anti-abortion protesters hold vigils outside the Marie Stopes – if the PSPO is enforced, they won’t be permitted to do so (Picture: Getty Images)
Abortion clinic one step closer to getting anti-protest buffer zone
Anti-abortion placards and demonstrators can cause great distress to women accessing legal healthcare (Picture: Getty Images)

Ms Rai, who represents the Walpole ward which includes the clinic, said: ‘The PSPO outside a Marie Stopes clinic is unprecedented nationally. We know that other councils are watching what we do.’

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The earliest that the eight-week public consultation could begin is January 29.

A council spokesman said a decision on whether or not to implement the PSPO will only be made once the consultation process has been completed, and it’s known whether or not the statutory criteria are met – including whether a PSPO will be a necessary and proportionate response to the issues that have been identified.

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